Blues Acid Test
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Whatever plans are being drawn up by our hierarchy for the summer months regarding on-field playing matters, three issues will surely need to be addressed. Early days of course for George Hall, Jordan James and Jobe Bellingham and their Birmingham City futures but, nevertheless, serious consideration must be given to extending their stays at St Andrew’s. These players are stand-outs as we currently sit, with no lack of interest being shown by potential suitors.
We all know our kamikaze history when it comes to releasing gems at knock down prices, and often prematurely at that. Too many to name but we know the list of regrets. My hope, this time, is that careful and serious consideration will be given to retaining the young talent that we have with a much bigger picture being looked at. Hopefully Craig Gardner and Ian Dutton can have influence along with Lee Bowyer, but I am not that naive to believe it will necessarily be the case.
Merely existing in the second tier is, for many clubs, acceptable and welcomed. But surely we still have more ambition than that? We have a history of glorious highs when securing Premier League status which borders on unparalleled joy. We know what it feels like to be amongst the best, and we dearly want another crack. Keeping the players sought after by others is a key ingredient to achieving success. And that’s not rocket science.
Perhaps the likes of James, Hall and Bellingham will not live up to expectations and disappointment might lie ahead. That’s football. But taking more bad decisions by the early release of players with genuine potential will surely leave us with yet more regret. External reports about Bellingham and James, some seemingly from other managers, are impressive and that’s what I take seriously. Hence my hope that these two remain longer at the club. At seventeen, George Hall is another closely watched talent and there has been a lot of press speculation these past few days that he is being seriously courted by other clubs.
Eleven seasons in the Championship is a long stint for any club although in some cases it is to be expected. But at Blues we have all too regularly shot ourselves in the foot by making poor decisions and letting the very tools needed to achieve success be taken away from us.
These coming summer months will no doubt see much activity on the playing side. Sunday’s victory against West Bromwich Albion has given much needed joy and belief for the remaining six games. Hopefully, the permanent signings of Lyle Taylor and Onel Hernandez will be secured and further encourage all of us for the new season ahead. Above all, however, we must resist approaches for the trio mentioned. Should Nico Gordon continue his admirable progression too, then the likes of Hall, Bellingham and James could prove invaluable investments.
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